16 July 20202 min reading

The European Union overtook Russia as the world's top wheat exporter in the 2019/20 season, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on 10th July. Russia exported 34.5 million tonnes in the 2019/20 season that ended on June 30, while the EU exported 38.0 million tonnes, the USDA said. Russia and the EU are yet to release final official data for the season.

Some traders were discouraged from submitting offers for Russian wheat to big customers such as Egypt for April-June after Russia imposed a quota to limit its exports, citing the need to secure domestic supplies amid the coronavirus crisis.

The EU's exports of 38 million tonnes, if confirmed by the official data, would be a record for the bloc after a good crop in 2019. Russia aims to use the grain export quota mechanism permanently, but the first half of the 2020/21 season - July-December - is expected to be quota free. Its state grain export quota has been criticised by leading market analysts as a hurdle for the long-term self evolution of the free market.

Russia is likely to be the world's leader in wheat exports again in the 2020/21 season due to this year's large crop, but it would help its market share if the long-term risks of the state intervention are eased, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said. "Being the world's top exporter is not as important as the good income of the rural population, but our leadership in this market might be at risk in the long term if we continue to regulate it at this pace," Dmitry Rylko, the head of IKAR, said. REUTERS

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